Manchester on course for major housing crisis due to over-development, claims damning new report

‘Out of control’ developer re-generation has Manchester on course for a major housing crisis, says a damning new report.

The report says that Manchester will fail to provide an adequate level of housing or transport to match an estimated 110,000 extra jobs in the city by 2040.

The team was chaired by Karel Williams, Professor of Accounting and Political Economy at Alliance Manchester Business School.

According to the report there are 50,000 mostly private new homes planned in the city centre, all the while there is a long waiting list for social housing and well-documented homelessness problems continuing to increase in frequency.

The report says that over 11,000 one-to-two bed flats for private rent are under construction in the city centre currently, whilst social housing construction has slowed significantly.

“The fact of the matter is that there are 80,000 on the waiting list for social housing and the truth is we’ve done nothing for them for the last 20 years,” Williams said.

“It is true that the city centre has been transformed, and nobody wanted a city centre as it was in the early 90’s, but the truth is that the scale of present development is out of control.”

Williams says that developer-led focus on city centre housing only serves young white-collar workers, a relative minority of the Greater Manchester population.

According to the most recent census, home ownership dropped in the previous decade, the first time ever since the census records began.

Whilst Williams lays the blame with the Government, he says that local councils have failed to prioritise the housing problem.

He said: “The buck stops with national government, but local councils have simply lost control of the situation. As you can see if you stand at the bottom of Deansgate and look at all the cranes on the skyline.

“Yes, they’re operating under constraints, but they haven’t been jumping and shouting loud enough. Manchester City Council in particular have allied themselves with developers to get things built.”

For Williams and his team, the lack of development in the outer boroughs highlights the real-life effects of the problem.

“If you look at the outer boroughs like Bolton, there isn’t much sign of developer led regeneration – there’s almost nothing that’s new in Bolton centre,” he added.

The full report is available here.

Image courtesy of Stacey MacNaught, with thanks.

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